Kerry Smith resigns as Ukip candidate in top target seat following homophobic and racist remarks

Smith was reselected as candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock following the resignation of Natasha Bolter over claims of sexual harassment by the party's general secretary

Ian Johnston
Sunday 14 December 2014 23:47 GMT
Kerry Smith was contesting the South Basildon and East Thurrock seat
Kerry Smith was contesting the South Basildon and East Thurrock seat (PA)

Ukip’s Kerry Smith has resigned as the party’s candidate in a top target seat after it emerged he had made homophobic and racist remarks and joked about shooting poor people.

In recordings of phone calls obtained by the Mail on Sunday, the would-be MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock was said to have mocked gay party members as “disgusting poofters”, joked about shooting people from Chigwell in a “peasant hunt” and referred to someone with a Chinese name as a “Chinky bird”.

Mr Smith was deselected as the Ukip candidate for the seat, considered to be winnable by the party, in October and replaced by Natasha Bolter, but then she quit claiming she had been sexually harassed by Ukip’s general secretary, Roger Bird, who has denied the claims.

Former Tory minister Neil Hamilton was then seen as the likely candidate but he withdrew on the night of the hustings after a letter from Ukip’s finance committee asking him to explain his expenses claims was leaked to Channel 4 News.

Mr Hamilton claimed he had been the victim of a “dirty tricks” campaign, but backed Mr Smith who was selected last week.

However, amid reports that internecine warfare had broken out between supporters of Mr Hamilton and Ukip leader Nigel Farage, the Mail on Sunday newspaper obtained a recording of Mr Smith making a string of offensive remarks.

He initially apologised and explained that he had been under great stress at the time of the comments and taking strong pain killers.

But in a statement on Sunday night, Mr Smith said: “I have this evening offered my resignation as Ukip PPC for South Basildon and East Thurrock.

“I want the best for South Basildon and East Thurrock and I want to see the real issues discussed that touch the lives of people.

“Therefore I have chosen to resign so that Ukip can win this seat next May.”

In the recording, Mr Smith described the fact that Ukip’s LGBTQ group was allowed to use the party’s logo with a rainbow flag as “f***ing disgusting”.

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